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Ahold Delhaize: maintains profit forecast as sales jump

( - Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize on Wednesday reiterated its 2020 profit outlook, saying that demand across its network has increased "significantly" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As customers began stockpiling in March, the supermarket operator expects net sales to jump by approximately 15% in the first quarter, or 13% at constant currencies.

In the first quarter, comparable sales growth, excluding gasoline, is expected to reach approximately 14% in the US, and 10% in Europe, the grocer added.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty regarding full-year sales, Ahold Delhaize said.

Nevertheless, the company maintains its full-year outlook, expecting its underlying operating margin to be broadly in line with its level in 2019.

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